With this week’s tragic events at Virginia Tech, amateur video has again come to the fore. Virginia Tech graduate student Jamal Albarghouti shot the widely seen and heard cellphone video as shots rang out.
CNN, who solicits video from bystanders, referred on-the-air to Albarghouti as a reporter. I’ve got a problem with that characterization, but let’s save that concern for a later entry.
User provided content is being touted everywhere. Isn’t that what Youtube is all about… and look at Youtube’s success.
I spent some time a few days ago actually looking at Youtube’s user submitted content. By and large it’s terrible. Actually, unwatchable is a better characterization.
Go ahead. Try it yourself. Browse through Youtube limiting yourself to user provided content.
I’ve also tried, four separate times, to watch justin.tv. Justin, a twenty something from San Fransisco, has a camera on him broadcasting live on the Internet 24/7. Really – you can watch Justin sleep! I’ve never made it more than a few minutes before bailing from boredom… even when Justin was in a crowded bar.
User produced video sounds great to broadcasters and webcasters because the price sounds great. But, truth is, you’ve just shifted the expense. Unless you’re Youtube, running a mainly user submitted video website, someone’s going to have to view, categorize, approve and most importantly, cull these videos.
“Someone” is a euphemism for “free stuff will now cost.”
I can’t imagine doing that job, wading through the vlogs of 16 year old girls. Talk about a prisoner like existence.
What I’m getting at is, there will be exceptions based on circumstance, but by and large most of the video we watch will continue to be produced by professionals, aided by a very few talented amateurs (who will probably later succumb to the siren song of pay for work).
All the companies now thinking of free content as be their salvation will soon realize, there’s still no such thing as a free lunch.